By - George Delis (@Delisketo)
On September 25, undefeated world champion Hiroto Kyoguchi makes his light flyweight debut, against Tibo Monabesa at Korakuen Hall.
Hiroto Kyoguchi (10-0 / 7 KOs) was initiated into martial arts from a very young age, since both his father and uncle were karate masters, he took up the sport when he was only 3 years old. His focus was shifted to boxing 9 years later when he saw his brother training in a local Osaka gym. During his University years, he won the 69th National Sports Festival (2014), which is considered to be Japan’s premier sports event and also became captain of the boxing team. In 2015, he entered the 5th Taipei City Cup International Boxing Tournament, winning second place. Kyoguchi’s amateur record was 52-14.
Turned pro in 2016, Kyoguchi fought 5 times that year, winning all of his bouts via KO/TKO within 3 rounds. His first championship victory came on February of 2017 when he stopped Filipino fighter Armando de la Cruz (25-14*), with some lethal body shots, to win the OPBF Minimumweight title.
On July 23, 2017, the Osaka born star received an IBF world title opportunity against Jose Argumedo (20-3*), the man who defeated Katsunari Takayama for the same belt in 2015. Kyoguchi, with his fast combinations, controlled the fight, keeping him ahead on the judges score cards. Argumedo was no pushover though as he displayed a strong offense for a few rounds, not enough though to win him the fight. In the 9th round, Kyoguchi knocked the champion down after landing a well calculated left hook followed by a series of strikes. The barrage continued throughout the remaining rounds, much to the excitement of the Japanese fans. In the end, Kyoguchi got the unanimous decision and became the world champion, only 15 months after his pro debut.
Kyoguchi marked his first successful title defense over 3 time world title contender Carlos Buitrago (30-2*). Much like the previous bout, the Japanese boxer was in full control, even came close to ending the fight in the 6th round. After 2 more action packed rounds, Kyoguchi went for the kill in the 8th, putting the hurt on the challenger, leading to the referee stopping the fight. His second and last defense was against Vince Paras (13-0*) this past May.
Eventually, Kyoguchi decided to vacate his title and move up a weight class, as he looks on making an impact in the division, he conquered as an amateur. His light flyweight pro debut will take place next Tuesday when he takes on unbeaten Indonesian fighter, Tibo Monabesa (18-0 / 8 KOs). Kyoguchi’s already ranked amongst the top 5 of the division (WBA #2 / WBC #3 / IBF #5 – August rankings) so it’s safe to say that he’s only one or two wins away from competing again for a world championship. Monabesa will be a tough test as he is also a world ranked boxer (WBA #6 / WBC #13 / WBO # 8 – August rankings). However the experience factor lies with Kyoguchi here, despite being the younger of the two, since he has had a much more accomplished career, both as an amateur and as a pro. To conclude with, it’s important to point out that Hekkie Budler, the WBA Super champion, has expressed interest in fighting Kyoguchi for the strap. So if Kyoguchi is victorious against Monabesa, we could be seeing these two box for the world title, sooner or later.
*Denotes record leading into the fight
By Nick Skok:
Twenty-four year old IBF strawweight boss, Hiroto Kyoguchi, is ready for a breakout year. The usual KO provider had a difficult test in Vince Paras on May 20th in Tokyo as a part of the Ryoichi Taguchi - Hekkie Budler undercard, as he went the distance but secured a unanimous decision victory against the pesky filipino.
In the aftermath of the fight, Kyoguchi (10-0, 7 KO’s) told Japanese media outlet Nikkan Sports that “Eventually I’d like to be a unified champion.” The confident fighter reminded those in attendance that “Since he (Paras) is younger than me, I said beforehand that I’d teach him a boxing lesson.” You could say he did just that with all three scorecards reading “117-110.”
Kyoguchi’s esteemed promoter and gym president, Watanabe-san said “we’d like to have the unification.” It’s possible that in his next fight Kyoguchi will have a mandatory due so Watanabe added that Mark Anthony Barriga was a possibility for September before making a unification which would then theoretically be made at the end of the year. “We’d check a mandatory with the IBF [with a Barriga fight].”
The target was going to be WBO champion Ryuya Yamanaka (16-2, 5 KO’s) of the Shinsei Gym in Kobe before he lost just days ago. Said Yamanaka leading up to the fight: “What I need to do now is to keep winning. I’d like to have a unification fight with Kyoguchi once we are both recognized as stronger/better fighters. I saw the article where Kyoguchi said same thing in an interview. [eFight.jp]
While hardcore fans are starting to look in Kyoguchi’s direction and generally love unifications, Yamanaka brought up a valid point in that they’re not generating a lot of interest amongst casual fans at home. Kyoguchi’s fight wasn’t shown live on the Taguchi undercard and was on tape delayed broadcast five days after it took place. The fact that Yamanaka lost to Vic Saludar doesn’t upgrade the potential unification as the Japanese boxing public would be even less interested now.
However, it should be noted that Watanabe-san successfully staged a unification fight on New Year’s Eve last year with his guy Ryoichi Taguchi defeating Milan Melindo. As the New Year’s Eve week fights become more competitive amongst local promoters and networks, no doubt another unification match could garner some interest during the holidays, even amongst the strawweights.
Nick Skok can be reached on Twitter @NoSparring
These articles are submitted by guest writers and sites. They aren't submitted by the usual folk behind Asian Boxing and don't fall in line with our editorial stance, giving a fresh view on various boxing issues from the Asian boxing scene.